Vanos not working?

Hi
My 1995 328 has been very difficult to pull away with ever since I got it two years ago. You need to get the revs up to about 1500 to keep it from
stalling. My wife had it stall with her 3 times yesterday before she managed to pull away and she drives a 1996 316 daily which she never stalls. So I am statring to believe that this is not driver related.
I'm suspecting that the Vanos does not work on the 328, 'cause it would often idle rough. Yet from 2500 RPM upwards it pulls like a train, even when towing a 1 tonne caravan.
Is there anything I can do to check whether the Vanos is working or not. Apart from the mechanism being broken, could there be a vacuum hose or something similar that is blocked that could cause the Vanos to malfunction? The car has only done 160,000km or 100,000 miles, full service history and is still like new otherwise.
Thanks in advance for any advice
MW
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The VANOS is actuated by the engine oil pressure. You'll have to pull the valva cover to see. My guess is it is working unless the valve train is all sludged up.
As to why the car is stalling, someone else my offer a better opinion on it.
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yaofeng wrote:

Actually, the oil pressure does the work, but there is a solenoid that must engage and that sometimes sticks. If it does, the symptom is poor driveability at low rpms.
--
-Fred W

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MW de Jager wrote:

There is a solenoid that is actuated by the car's ECU. That solenoid opens and closes a valve that routes oil pressure to the VANOS actuator, which is the mecanical device that slides the helical gears on the camshaft and cam sprocket. This is how the cam gets advanced,
There is an SI bulletin that applies to all M52 engines for this problem. It is "SI 11 09 98, Subject: VANOS Valve Mechanically Jamming"
If you send me an email offline I will email you back a pdf copy of that SI bulletin. You will have to un-mung my email address first. Oh and let me know here if you've done that so I look out for your mail, as that email account is a spam trap.
--
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Hi Fred, will be sending you an email shortly

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I would take it to a dealer and ask them to check the engine control unit fault memory for you. It's a quick job and could save you a lot of time.

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Leroy wrote:

I wouldn't take any 12 year old car to a dealer unless I was looking for a rectal cleansing.
Are you nuts?
--
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Fred W wrote:

I thought I had seen some reference to disconnecting the solenoid and see if there was any difference. If no difference, you have a vanos problem. Anybody know if this will work?
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Thomas Wright wrote:

I suppose that you could also disconnect the solenoid electrically as you say, and look for a change. But if there is none, you still don't know if the problem is the ECU, solenoid or mechanical VANOS problem.
The SI Bulletin (forwarded to the OP via email) has you remove the solenoid and exercise the piston manually, checking for it being stuck or binding.
--
-Fred W

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Or do it yourself with a laptop and www.tekmatetools.com - they (the company) often sell on EBay for cheaper than the retail costs.
I have one and am very pleased with it.
Leroy wrote:

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Thanks everyone for your replies. I'll be taking it to a BMW "specialist", who did not pick this up when he serviced the car 6 months ago, and have him sort it out. The more I think about it, the more plausible the "dead solenoid" sounds.
MW

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